January 29, 2020

How to Embed Video in Email

Reading time about 6 min

Not all email clients support directly playable videos. Embedding a video in email HTML will put your email deliverability at risk. However there are some ways to get around this. Read on to find out how. 

Video is an efficient and effective tool for engaging directly with your target audience.

As far as viewing figures go, the amount of people who consume video content is constantly on the rise. An estimated 85% of internet users in the US watch online video content each month.

When it’s come to marketing, videos have been proven to push leads towards conversion. Just take a look at these statistics:

  • Over 50% of marketers have cited video as being the most valuable content format when it comes to ROI
  • Videos on a landing page have been proven to increase conversion rate by more than 80%
  • Video marketers get 66% more qualified leads per year

Including videos in email campaigns certainly has the potential to drive better results. Let’s take a look at how to go about it.

Including video in email: 3 ways to do it

The three most popular methods are embedding videos, including screenshots of videos that are linked to the video, and animated GIFs. Here’s what to expect from each.

Format What to expect
Embedded video Directly playable in a newsletter, but only supported by a few email clients so not the best option (more details below).
Static image A reliable solution, but not as striking and convincing as an actual video (recommended)
Animated GIF Played directly in the newsletter, supported by most email clients. Good at capturing attention but limited editing options.

Embedded video (avoid this method)

Imagine this: your contact opens a newsletter, sees an embedded video, and clicks play. Immediately, the video starts playing within the email client, effortlessly and without interruption.

Sounds too good to be true, right? Well…it kind of is. As great as directly embedded videos are, only a few email clients actually support the technology. 

Brevo does not recommend this option for including video in email as it may harm your email deliverability.

Some email clients (like Apple Mail and Samsung) will play the video within the email. Other clients will display a fallback image or worse, flag your email as spam.

In any case, this method has a huge risk for your video not to be played correctly for a large number of recipients. Unfortunately we’re just not yet at the point where video in email is supported universally.

Insert a static image with a link (Recommended)

Pause the video and take a screenshot

Static images that link to a video are probably the most frequently used solution. In this case, a screen shot or a video still is included in the email body. This image can be neutral or contain a play button or a call to action (“Play Video Now,” for example).

Adding images to email is super easy using Brevo’s Drag & Drop email editor. Open a free account now to get full access to this handy tool.

Once someone clicks on the image in the email, they’ll be taken to a website to view the video. The forwarding can either be directly to a landing page that you’ve built, or to a video service like YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook.

The big advantage of this solution is that the chances of display issues are slim. Images are loaded immediately and automatically in the vast majority of email clients.

Whichever landing page you use, it should be mobile friendly, because lots of your contacts are going to be opening and viewing your video on their smartphone.

For as simple and user-friendly as this solution can be, there are some disadvantages. The contact needs to leave your newsletter to view the media, and he or she might not return. The landing page should be appropriate and perfectly linked with the newsletter.

Animated GIF

As explained by SmallBizTrends in this definition, a GIF (with the file extension, .gif) is an image file format that is animated by combining several other images or frames into a single file.

GIFs in email are dynamically loaded and played immediately. 

Animated GIFs are one of the few ways to directly display moving images within emails. They’re supported by most email clients, and can be very effective at boosting engagement.

Want to make people laugh? GIFs are also a great way to express humor.

But there is one disadvantage which makes them less captivating than regular videos: They’re completely silent. You can’t add sound to a GIF. 

That said, they’ve been proven to achieve increased click-through rates and engagement. Always pay attention to the size of the image though. If it’s too big you might get flagged by a spam filter.

In addition to GIFs, it’s also possible to insert animated PNGs. However, GIFs are better suited to animations.

Cinemagraphs are another option. They’re basically still images in which part of the image is moving. Yet another simple and creative way to spice up your newsletters and grab the reader’s attention. 

Using video to support the CTA

Before adding video to your marketing email, think about the goal behind the email. What are you trying to achieve? What specific action do you want the read to carry out?

Any video you add should support and encourage this action. If not, then best find a better fit for the video on one of your other marketing channels.

Like all other content, videos need to be relevant and add value.

If you want to use video in your newsletter, consider this: do you need to include an entire video, or just a shorter clip? If it’s an entire video, where should the person view it, and what information will he or she find there? Can a short video clip be more effective than a GIF? And what about a Cinemagraph?

Video in email: The new recipe for email marketing success?

Hard to say. 

We won’t know the full potential of video in email until the day all email clients support embedded video. And right now, there’s no indication that day is coming anytime soon.

But marketing has no rulebook. This means you have the freedom to try out endless approaches and see what works for your audience.

If you’re curious about including video in your next email, try out one of the above methods. See how it goes down.

And if you’re looking for email marketing software, be sure to check out Brevo. The free version lets you send up to 300 emails per day (or 9,000 a month) and gives access to our sales and marketing digital toolbox.

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